The purpose of inbound marketing is to create magnetism around your brand. Generally, companies trying to do this spread various kinds of content and advertisements across different mediums. However, while you want your branding to stay consistent across all these mediums, the execution has to be organic to the respective format the content or ad is airing on. This is why storytelling has become so important.
Stories allow the storyteller to relate to their audience on a deeper emotional level. From a branding sense, stories help customers connect with a company beyond the actual product. This can help create relationships that go beyond an initial purchase and become long-term.
How Storytelling and Inbound Marketing Intersect
Hubspot, a leading marketing and sales software company, states that “great stories succeed because they are able to capture the imagination of large or important audiences.” The company lists context, emotional resonance, consistency, authenticity and specificity as the characteristics that make a story great.
The context of your inbound marketing story is absolutely crucial to the customer understanding your message. If you send out a long-form email, for example, the context of the message should expand your story by using multiple examples and giving an extensive explanation of your viewpoint. In contrast, the context of a two-minute video should use a more organic form of storytelling that can take advantage of the visual medium.
When marketing emotionally resonates with the consumer, their values and interests will align with your product or service. Buzzfeed, the digital publishing company, is masterful at relating to its audience on a deeper level via its Facebook page. For example, an article published on January 6, 2016 entitled “28 Picture-Perfect Tweets Guaranteed to Make the Whole World Laugh” pulls people in who are looking for a good laugh. Tailored for the social media age, it is paired with copy stating that “a picture paints more than 140 characters.” This post generated 4,935 likes, 791 shares and 249 comments, proving that Buzzfeed’s inbound social media marketing pulled in a substantial reaction.
Consistency and authenticity go hand in hand. While the context will change how the content is delivered, consistency and authenticity stress keeping the overall messaging the same. For example, Nike has a wide range of marketing channels, from various social media accounts to YouTube videos to traditional advertising. With simple slogans like “Just Do It” or “Make It Count,” they communicate a message of higher purpose and motivation to achieve one’s fitness and athletic goals. They are both consistent throughout the medium and authentic to Nike’s products, which revolve around fitness and sports.
Specificity is also key in making sure the audience understands the point of your marketing. In The Verge’s article, “Watch this generic commercial mock modern advertising,” the embedded video uses vague words and imagery that give off an inspirational and innovative image, but do not give the audience a clue about what the company does. This satirical video makes the point that the messaging must clearly communicate the goals of the product or service at hand.
How the Art of Charm Weaves a Narrative
The Art of Charm is an educational business dedicated to teaching networking and social psychology so that men can be better at work and in their relationships. They do a phenomenal job of weaving a narrative across various mediums that ultimately generate revenue.
Their main platform is the Art of Charm podcast, which is listed as a popular podcast under the Marketing & Management section on iTunes. Topics they cover include “networking, public speaking, negotiation, dating and sex, to financing and career advice to life-hacking and fitness — every aspect of a rich, fulfilling life.” In each episode, host and co-founder Jordan Harbinger interviews people like productivity expert Tim Ferriss, management guru Seth Godin, and best-selling authors like Neil Strauss, Michael Port, and Ramit Sethi, as well as other incredible teachers, thinkers and builders.
Just from the topics and guests covered on the podcast, listeners get an idea of what the Art of Charm brand is all about. Through the episodes, you learn about Jordan’s personal journey and how the Art of Charm started and evolved over time. Also, their advertisements, which frequently include discount codes unique to listeners and class reviews from past students, ultimately hone in on revenue-generating opportunities.
Another tactic the Art of Charm utilizes is emailing advice and links to blog and videos on their site. To get the word out about their content and services, they frequently publish blog posts on other sites, like Business Insider. In addition, Jordan Harbinger has even been a guest on other podcasts, further spreading the story of his brand. The Art of Charm’s efforts has led to a diverse collection of press coverage from publications like Forbes and Huffington Post.
All in all, the Art of Charm attracts potential customers through a variety of mediums using messaging that revolves around self-improvement and social dynamics.
Storytelling combined with inbound marketing provides a powerful way for businesses to connect with an audience on a deeper level. Even more important, it can also spark interest around the brand’s product and services. In order to build a long-term relationship with customers, branding must be executed in a way that gets an audience intrigued about the potential benefits of a product or service.